Clever tech teachers rewarded

November 2011


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Microsoft’s annual Innovative Educator Awards promise great prizes for Kiwi teachers.

The hunt is on for 2011’s most innovative school teacher with Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Awards, which celebrate the original and engaging use of technology in Kiwi classrooms. Entries are open and teachers will have to be in quick to meet the fast-approaching deadline of Friday 28 October, 2011.

As part of the global Microsoft Partners in Learning programme, the awards look for teachers who are using technology in clever ways, recognising their passion and commitment with an unsurpassed professional development opportunity – the chance to network and collaborate with other like-minded and dedicated teachers from around the globe.

Jan Anderson of Methven Primary School in Canterbury was named a Microsoft Innovative Educator in 2010 for her work in gaming and education, and attended the Microsoft Asia Pacific Partners in Learning Education Forum that year.

“The opportunity to think outside the New Zealand curriculum and connect with other educators from around the Asia Pacific region was a phenomenal experience. To be recognised for my work was hugely rewarding, both professionally and personally. I am enjoying supporting other schools and teachers into games in education and extending the digital literacies children engage in throughout
New Zealand,” says Anderson.

The 2011 national winners will receive a professional development package worth more than $5000, including:

  • An all-expenses paid trip to the Microsoft Asia Pacific Partners in Learning Education Forum in March 2012, and the chance to win a trip to the Worldwide Innovative Educators Forum later that year 
  • A HP EliteBook 2760p Tablet Notebook PC – valued at $3100
  • An Xbox Kinect package for the school
  • A Microsoft Partners in Learning Teacher’s Award commemorative plaque and recognition on the global Microsoft Partners in Learning website.

Evan Blackman, education manager at Microsoft New Zealand, says empowering educators is a huge focus for Microsoft. “Education is the cornerstone of New Zealand’s future success, and it is essential that we empower teachers to assist students in reaching their full potential. I’m passionate about technology opening the doors to more engaging and compelling learning – but first we need to ensure our teachers are comfortable and confident using technology in the classroom.

“These awards are designed to recognise and reward teachers for innovative and ground-breaking use of technology. Every year we get a slew of inspiring entries from teachers around the country, and I’m sure this year will be no different. I hope teachers will not only put themselves forward for consideration, but also take the time to recognise the work of their peers.”

Entry is open to all full-time and part-time primary and secondary school teachers at both public and private schools around New Zealand. Entries must be submitted by midnight, Friday 28 October, 2011, with evidence of how the entrant has used technology in an exemplary and innovative way.


For further information, including entry forms, judging criteria and terms and conditions, please visit




Howick school’s path to tech success

Howick College has been named a Microsoft Pathfinder School as a result of its innovative and proactive use of technology within the classroom. The college is the second school in New Zealand to be chosen as a Pathfinder School under the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme, joining Botany Downs Secondary College, which became the first New Zealand Pathfinder school in 2010.

This year, 51 schools worldwide were selected as Pathfinder Schools, with seven named in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This is a major achievement for the school,” says Iva Ropati, principal at Howick College. “Being named as a Pathfinder School is recognition of the effort and passion the teachers at Howick College put into their teaching. We have a fantastic set of educators here, all who strive to inspire and engage students by incorporating technology within the classroom.”

Howick College is home to two Microsoft Innovative Educators, Steve Martin and Nathan Kerr, who have contributed significantly to this success. Kerr’s early work delivering educational materials via cell phones has been ground-breaking in enabling students to learn anytime, anywhere, from any device.

As a Pathfinder School, Howick College will become part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning professional development network, which connects more than four million educators in 114 countries around the globe. Howick College will also receive mentoring
from Microsoft Mentor Schools in the Asia Pacific region and will be invited to participate in virtual conferences with other Pathfinder Schools on a regular basis.

Representatives from Howick College and Botany Downs Secondary College have been invited to attend both the regional and worldwide Innovative Educators Forums, with the latter being held in Washington DC in November this year.